STOCKHOLM -- Autoliv, the world's largest producer of airbags and seat belts, reported a much smaller than expected fall in the quarterly earnings on Friday and said it had seen a recovery in demand and output gain momentum in China.
First-quarter adjusted operating earnings at the Sweden-based group fell to $134 million from $173 million a year-ago, the company said in a statement. The result easily beat a consensus forecast of $72 million based on a poll of analysts published by the company.
The company, which competes with ZF Friedrichshafen as well as Joyson Safety Systems, has already embarked on wide-ranging cost cuts after the lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus that caused automakers across the world at varying times to stop production.
Underlining the severity of the plunge in demand and ruptured supply chains that have beset the automotive industry, Autoliv earlier this month withdrew its guidance for the year and said most of its plants were shut down at the time.
Since then, the Chinese economy largely exited lockdown.
"We have seen significant recovery in demand and production in China since restarting in mid-February and all of our plants in China are now operating at normal levels," CEO Mikael Bratt said in the statement.
Still, Bratt said the overall situation for the group was more challenging now than in the first quarter as customer closures outside China increased in scope.